Marathoning is hard.
No surprise there right? Lots of miles, lots of cross training. Lots of wear and tear on the body.
Now add the fact that at 43 years, 342 days old, I have a 10 ½ month old daughter to chase around and do the occasional front porch tiling job on my own, needless to say I get sore from time to time.
In fact, most days I would say that I have some ache or tight area that I’m monitoring.
One of the things that I think has helped me stay as healthy as I have over the past several years of training for and running marathons has been the ability to know the difference between the usual “soreness” that comes from training and when pushing yourself to improve has you on the cusp of injury.
Pain and injury are very different things.
When managing an injury my advice is to head to the Sports Medicine Doctor right away. Every day that you put off seeing an expert is one day further you are from being back out there running, cycling or swimming injury free.
When it comes to pain management, that’s all part of the game. To improve as an athlete you need to push your muscles to new thresholds. Run farther, run faster, run more frequently or even run two times a day. Your muscles get broken down during these workouts allowing them to rebuild stronger than they were before during your rest and recovery days.
The price of that however is soreness. It’s just part of the deal.
If you run a 5K or 10K race and don’t feel it the next day, you weren’t really racing.
You were just running a race.
Those are two entirely different things.
So what do I do to deal with that soreness? The same thing the vast majority of athletes do, R.I.C.E.
Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.
Ever since my shin splint injury that resulted from a strained calf muscle running hills to get ready for the Boston Marathon, I have become a big believer in the Compression part of the R.I.C.E. treatment strategy.
Without my trusted compression calf sleeve from Zensah, I’m not sure I would have made it through the training for and the running of two marathons just 13 days apart for Dom back in the spring of 2010.
The only thing that I will say about my calf sleeve that is remotely negative was that it is a bit restricting and during my post-race massage after the Austin Marathon in February, the sports massage therapist told me that my “right side” was much tighter than my left from my ankle to my hip. He thought that it was time for me to discard the calf sleeve and that I should work back to running without it.
I have not run in it since and I am now back to feeling very “even” on my legs and pain/symptom free. If I ever feel anything in that area again, I would not hesitate to go back to my compression sleeve in a second.
Well a few weeks ago I received a message from the good people at Tommie Copper. They asked if I would not mind trying out some of their compression gear. Being a huge believer in the compression therapy, I jumped at the chance.
Not only does their gear feature lightweight and comfortable compression technology, the fabric actually contains Copper – which has long been believed to help stimulate immune systems and to repair injured tissues to promote healing.
I’m sure you have seen people wearing copper bracelets in the past to help with arthritis pain and other ailments. Their Cu29 Compression Gear (Cu – Elemental sign for Copper, 29 – The Atomic Number for Copper) was designed on those same principles.
I asked to test the compression calf sleeve, knee sleeve as I had experienced some knee inflammation earlier this spring and one of their compression shirts as my left shoulder had been a bit sore from all of the swimming I have been doing training for my first triathlon.
Within a week my package arrived from Tommie Copper and I was anxious to give their gear a try.
Product Review – Knee Compression Sleeve
The first thing I noticed was how lightweight their compression apparel was. The calf and knee sleeves were extremely lightweight and comfortable. They provided great compression, but felt more like moisture wicking material than a stiff elastic compression fabric.
Sizing is done in 5 increments, small, medium, large, X large and XX Large, with an easy to follow sizing chart. Tommie Copper asks that you measure the circumfrence of the appropriate body part (knee, calf, chest etc.) to assure propper fitment. You can view a sample of their sizing chart by clicking HERE.
I noticed that my knee which was back to 100% strength running over the past two months still bothered me just a bit when I flew on an airplane. I believe that the change in cabin pressure caused my knee to swell just a bit and that added inflammation made my left knee a bit tender.
I decided to fly out to Charleston, SC wearing the compression sleeve on my knee. I also wore it after my two post-flight runs as well as a few hours after my 15-mile long run on Sunday after arriving in Charleston.
Due to the lightweight fabric and the comfort fit top and bottom bands that kept the sleeve in place, I honestly forgot that I had it on. Only when I would see someone looking at it, wondering if I was injured would I remember that I was wearing it. Part of that was due to me being in the hospital picking up my mother after her surgery.
I experienced no swelling during or after my two flights and ran back to back to back workouts of 8 miles, 8 miles, 15 miles feeling absolutely perfect.
Two thumbs up on the knee compression sleeve.
Product Review – Compression Shirt
The product I was very anxious to try was the Tommie Cooper Compression Shirt. My shoulder was an area where I was currently experiencing some mild soreness.
After my third swim day in a row I would notice a sore-tired feeling at the top of my left shoulder, just above my bicep.
After a day of rest, it would subside – but it was there just slightly every morning when I woke up.
I wore the compression shirt prior to my first swim out in Charleston at the Medical University training facility. It was a fast swim workout as Coach Claudia has me focusing on improving my speed as my distance/endurance is now where we want it to be.
I did a swim workout of:
5X 100 Meter Repeats
500 Meters Free
5X 100 Meter Repeats
500 Meter Pull Buoy (all arms, no kick)
5 X 50 Meter Repeats
A tough 1.4 mile swim workout. I wore my compression shirt to follow the next day and felt no soreness in my shoulder.
This week I swam back to back to back including my first ever 1.4 mile continuous swim, longer than the half-ironman swim requirement by .2 miles without stopping and still, no soreness in my shoulder.
It seems like the folks at Tommie Copper really are on to a great product line. They managed to couple compression with Copper revitalization technology and launch a great product line.
In addition to the copper element of their fabric, the compression gear alone is tremendous. Lightweight, extremely comfortable with a wide variety of sizing options so that you are able to really shop for a product that will fit you properly.
Compression without restriction, just tremendous.
As a reminder with any product reviews here at Run for Dom, I am simply passing along my findings after testing out a new product. I am by no way compensated for my time or influenced by the company to provide a positive review.
If you are dealing with some nagging bumps and bruises or some chronic aches and pains related to training, arthritis, pulls or joint soreness – I think you should reach out to the folks at Tommie Copper.
You can visit their website at:
Happy trails everyone!